The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) was released on Monday:

Led by improvements in production related indicators, the CFNAI rose to +0.39 in July from +0.21 in June. Three of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index made positive contributions to the index in July and two of the four categories increased from June.

The index’s three month moving average (CFNAI-MA3) increased to +0.25 in July from +0.16 in June marking its fifth consecutive reading above zero. July’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was somewhat above its historical trend (which is “0.0” on the graph if you go to the website).”

This is a bit of continued good news from this index.

Also on Monday the S&P 500 crossed 2000 for the first time in intraday trade….

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released its survey of Texas Manufacturing Output:

Texas factory activity increased again in August, albeit at a slower pace than in recent months, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey.

Highlights of the survey:

  • The Production Index fell indicating output slowed from July.
  • The general business activity index remained positive but fell to a five month low.
  • The company outlook fell due to a smaller share of firms noting an improved outlook in August than in July.
  • Labor market indicators reflected continued employment growth and longer workweeks.
  • The raw materials price index held steady, the finished goods price index edged up and the wages and benefits index also rose.
  • Expectations regarding future business conditions remained optimistic in August.

Over the weekend an American journalist who had been held for two years in Syria by al-Qaeda linked militants has been freed. The group who held him (the Nusra Front) are not directly related to ISIS (but they are still sand rats) who ARE responsible for the reprehensible beheading of journalist James Foley last week.

From the US Census Bureau: Advance Report on Durable Goods Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders for July 2014

  • New orders for manufactured durable goods in July increased 22.6 percent, up five of the last six months.
  • Shipments of manufactured durable goods in July, up five of the last six months increased 3.3 percent.
  • Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in July, up fifteen of the last sixteen months increased 5.4 percent.
  • Inventories of manufactured durable goods in July, up fifteen of the last sixteen months, increased 0.5 percent.

The real-time economic effects of the above information:

To judge what is happening to the economy now, we need to look at shipments. Durable goods shipments surged in July and that was on top of a nice 1.2% June advance. The picture, by industry is brighter. Although machinery orders fell, shipments rose 2.4%. The same for computers/electronic products which saw shipments rise 2.3%. Non-defense capital goods shipments moved 1.4% higher after a 3.0% June gain. That capital spending momentum is pretty darn good.”

Ken Mayland economist for the Precision Machined Products Association

The US is preparing to send surveillance aircraft, including unmanned drones, into Syrian airspace to gather intelligence on Islamist targets….and so it begins. I think the White House may finally recognize the threat the world faces from the Islamic State and realizes we must take them on and destroy the threat.

On Tuesday the S&P 500 closed above 2000 for the first time, notching its 30th record high of the year.

I don’t know what that means for the future, but there you have it….

US raw steel production

rose 0.7 percent last week as mills operated at an average capability utilization rate (ACUR) of 80.3 percent, the highest level since the end of May, 2012. In the corresponding week last year mills operated at an ACUR of 77.6 percent. Thus far this year mills have operated at an ACUR of 77.1 percent up 0.6 percent from the same period last year.

GDP Growth

Thursday the BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis) released its “second” estimate of GDP growth for the second quarter of 2014:

The output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the US increased at an annual rate of 4.2 percent.”

In the first quarter real GDP contracted by 2.1 percent.


Fast & Furious-providing weapons to criminals leading to a loss of American life. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The loss of 4 American lives at our embassy in Benghazi, Libya. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The IRS targeting conservative political groups for tax-exempt status. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The National Security Administration eavesdropping on the phone calls of American citizens. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
The software program created for the Affordable Healthcare Act, at a cost of $1 billion (thus far) and 3 ½ years to “perfect”, has been unusable to the American people. No one held accountable. The president was unaware.
Spying on our Allies, specifically Angela Merkel of Germany. No one held accountable. The president was unaware. (Although these things go on knowingly between countries all the time, the fact that our president denies knowledge of this is just another sign of his incompetence as the leader of the most powerful country on the planet).
“If you like your current insurance plan you can keep it. Period” Barack Obama
“If you like your doctor, you can keep him. Period” Barack Obama

Have a great weekend and….

Hug your children and grandchildren, tell them you love them.
Buy American made products whenever you can.
Hire a Veteran: they are patriots, honest, hard working, disciplined, loyal…. and …. They need and deserve our support.

God Bless America